Federal Prosecution Office calls for investigation into Bolsonaro malfeasance

Federal Prosecution Office calls for investigation into Bolsonaro malfeasance
President Jair Bolsonaro attended mass on Thursday. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR

Brazil’s Federal Prosecution Office has issued a request for the Supreme Court to open an investigation into far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. He is accused of malfeasance for allegedly failing to act when informed about possible corruption concerning a Health Ministry vaccine purchase.

Last week, Congressman Luis Miranda and his brother Luis Roberto — a senior Health Ministry official— told the Senate’s Covid hearings about the latter being coerced into greenlighting a USD 300 million deal for 20 million doses of India’s Covaxin vaccine. They claim to have told Mr. Bolsonaro about their concerns late in March, to which Mr. Bolsonaro reportedly responded by dismissing the claims as “monkey business” of his government’s House whip Ricardo Barros.

He allegedly promised to put the Federal Police on the case, but nothing was done. Elected officials are obliged to report any crimes they are made aware of — failing to do so is a criminal offense.

The Federal Prosecution Office intended to wait until the Senate’s hearings committee completed its work before weighing in on a possible investigation into the president. In a harsh opinion published yesterday, Supreme Court Justice Rosa Weber denied that request — ordering the office to take a stand. 

Justice Weber said the Federal Prosecution Office cannot behave as a bystander and avoid its constitutional obligations.